Even if you don’t plan on regularly working on your car, it’s wise to invest into some tools for your garage. You just never know when a situation may come up where you need something, and having it handy may save you an inconvenient trip to the store or mechanic. For 2019, we’ve researched numerous automotive tools, some of which may not be considered a tool in the traditional sense. But many of the items in this article can come in handy depending on where you live, and some of these we’d recommend every car owner have in their possession.
With that in mind, here is a roundup of 2019’s Editor’s Picks for various automotive tools.
Table of contents
- Editor's Pick for Best Tool Set: Dewalt Mechanics Tool Set
- Editor's Pick for Best Impact Wrench: Dewalt 20V 1/2-inch Impact Wrench (DCF899P1)
- Editor's Pick for Best Tire Pressure Gauge: Rhino USA Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Gauge
- Editor's Pick for Best Creeper Seats: Omega Black Low Profile Z-Creeper
- Editor's Pick for Best Car Escape Tool: Ztylus Stinger Car Emergency Escape Tool Kit
- Editor's Pick for Best DIY Dent Repair Kit: Gliston Paintless Dent Repair Remover Kit
- Editor's Pick for Best Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner
- Editor's Pick for Best Snow Brush and Ice Scraper: Snow Joe SJBLZD Telescoping Snow Broom with Ice Scraper
- Editor's Pick for Best Torque Wrench: CDI Torque 3/8-Inch Drive Memory Needle Dial Torque Wrench
- Editor's Pick for Best Floor Jack
- Editor's Pick for Best Jack Stands: Torin Big Red Steel Jack Stands
Editor's Pick for Best Tool Set: Dewalt Mechanics Tool Set
This DEWALT mechanics tool set has virtually everything the mechanic needs and wants for a wide range of general repair jobs. Built by one of the industry’s foremost tool manufacturers and backed by a lifetime warranty, this kit has almost universally perfect owner reviews.
DEWALT is a trusted brand in tools, and this tool set provides a variety of wrenches, sockets, adapters, drivers, and accessories commonly used for repair jobs around the car and home.
Notably, it includes a ratchet with a 72-tooth count, for a 5-degree arc swing that’s ideal for less-frustrating use in very tight quarters. A compact and sturdy case keeps all items organized and protected, and this tool set line can be scaled up and down for size, with options ranging from 84 to 247 pieces.
Editor's Pick for Best Impact Wrench: Dewalt 20V 1/2-inch Impact Wrench (DCF899P1)
If you’re looking for a cordless impact wrench, DEWALT offers a brushless high torque 1/2-inch unit featuring a 1/2-inch anvil with detent pin to offer loosening torque of 1,200 ft-lbs and max torque of 700 ft-lbs. It comes equipped with a three-speed selector for control (400, 1200, 1900 RPM) and incorporates an LED work light with 20-second delay, which comes in handy when you’re working in your engine bay or in a dimly lit environment.
The impact wrench has a comfortable grip handle and weighs 7.2 lbs, since it does use a battery. It does have a compact design, measuring 8.81 inches in length. The cordless DEWALT impact wrench does 2,400 impacts per minute.
The kit includes the 20v impact wrench, a 5.0 Ah battery, and a multi-voltage charger.
Editor's Pick for Best Tire Pressure Gauge: Rhino USA Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Gauge
Competitively priced is the Rhino USA Heavy Duty tire pressure gauge. Although this gauge only reads up to 75 PSI, it is calibrated to ANSI B40.1 standard. It has a two-inch glow in the dark dial with a premium braided hose and solid brass hardware. Like other mechanical gauges on the list, it has a 360-degree swivel chuck and comes with a lifetime warranty.
It also can lock in the reading until the reset button is pushed, while the rubber cover protects the gauge from accidental drops.
If a max reading of 75 PSI is enough for you, the Rhino tire pressure gauge is one of the highest rated products on Amazon.
Editor's Pick for Best Creeper Seats: Omega Black Low Profile Z-Creeper
This Z-Creeper features a low-profile design—the frame is at the same height as the wheels, allowing you to get a few inches lower than other creepers. It’s also very large, with a length of 40 inches and width of 26 inches.
There’s plenty of comfy soft padding, and the process to transform this creeper into a chair is quick and easy. It weighs about 27 lbs, and buyers like the versatility of this product, but have complained about the lifespan of the wheels, with some units breaking quickly after purchase. However, this creeper is rated to be quite robust, with a weight capacity of 450 lbs.
Editor's Pick for Best Car Escape Tool: Ztylus Stinger Car Emergency Escape Tool Kit
Design and patented in the U.S., the Ztylus Stinger emergency escape tool kit features a spring-loaded glass breaker, seat belt cutter, and a pair of 2.4-amp USB chargers when the tool is plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter. The spring-loaded punch works quickly and easily, but like other escape tools, will only break tempered glass. Unlike other escape tools that are likely tossed into a glove box or center console, this one also serves as a USB charger so you’ll likely always have it within reasonable reach in the case of an emergency. According to Ztylus, the Stinger’s seat belt cutter has been tested on a 5000-lb towing strap, so it will easily cut away your seat belt if necessary.
The onboard dual USB ports offers high speed charging, powered by an intelligent circuit design that protects against short circuiting, over-heating, over-currents, and over-charging.
This tool is price similarly to the competition, but you get the added benefit of having USB chargers. The product is available in black or white, as a single unit or two pack, and there is even an option for a USB-C charger. The company also offers a Stinger Vent Mount product, which serves as a phone holder, glass breaker, and seat belt cutter.
Editor's Pick for Best DIY Dent Repair Kit: Gliston Paintless Dent Repair Remover Kit
This dent repair kit from Gliston provides you with all of the tools you might need for getting a small dent or ding out of your vehicle.
The kit includes a “slide hammer” dent puller, 16 puller tabs, a hot glue gun and hot glue sticks, two tiny practice scraping tools, a black cloth, an empty alcohol spray body and instructions.
To use the kit, you hot glue one of the black tabs overtop of the dent in your vehicle. You then use the slid hammer to pull on the black tabs, pulling the dent outward and, ideally, removing it altogether. Multiple tab sizes are included in the kit, so whether your dent is big or small, this kit should do the trick.
If the dent is very small then the tabs may not be small enough, however, so you may want to look for a dent repair kit developed for removing particularly small indents. Some users also say the included hot glue and hot glue gun don’t stick the tabs to the car body as well as they should, but you could always your own glue and glue gun for a better result.
Editor's Pick for Best Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner
The BAFX Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner can read and clear Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) on both Windows and Android platforms. The device provides users with an easy setup so that even beginners can diagnose and check their vehicles on their own, and can even be made to work more smoothly using third-party applications like the Torque Pro.
The BAFX OBD2 scan tool is compatible with all American-based vehicles manufactured in the year 1996 and later. Unlike other cheaper models in the same price range, this scanner does not have any issues with J1850 and CAN systems, so you know you can rely on its compatibility and performance. The scanner offers real-time sensor information and can send it to your phone via Bluetooth so that you can be remotely informed about crucial data.
You can get a demo version of the software when buying the scanner to use with your PC. BAFX Products offers users a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty, and also boasts amazing customer service that can deal with any issues your scanner faces even after the warranty expires.
That said, since the scanner has been designed to work for vehicles in the United States, any international clients outside the US will have compatibility issues. Even though the device doesn’t cater to the iOS client base, it still holds positive reviews in the Android and Windows communities, making it an ideal choice for a basic OBD2 scanner.
Editor's Pick for Best Snow Brush and Ice Scraper: Snow Joe SJBLZD Telescoping Snow Broom with Ice Scraper
The head of this telescoping snow broom is constructed from durable, non-abrasive foam so it’s safe to use on a car, while measuring 18-inches wide. It’s designed to push away heavy snow quickly and weighs just 1.2 pounds, so you won’t get tired when using it. This product features an auto-locking extension pole that can be adjusted from 30 inches to 49 inches and has a built-in ice scraper to clear away any ice buildup on your windshield.
Included with the broom is a built-in bracket holder, allowing you to easily store it inside the trunk of your car when it’s not being used.
Owners of this product say it does a great job at quickly clearing snow, especially in hard to reach places. The extension allows it to be used on small and large vehicles and the foam doesn’t scratch the paint. Some users do report issues with the telescopic handle, however, and if you forget to dry the extension prior to closing it, water can freeze inside.
Editor's Pick for Best Torque Wrench: CDI Torque 3/8-Inch Drive Memory Needle Dial Torque Wrench
The CDI Needle Dial Torque Wrench is perhaps not as foolproof as a click-style torque wrench, but has many advantages of its own.
The user will have to pay attention to the built-in dial when torquing a nut or bolt in order to know the current torque rating, rather than listening for a click. The wrench is highly accurate, however, and extremely robust due to the sturdy and thick steel construction. The torque range is high from 0-300 lbs. The needle is also easy-to-read and clearly displays the torque value.
A downside to this style of torque wrench is that you may not always be able to see the dial if you are working within a tight space. The dial does have a ‘memory’ function, however, so the needle will remain at the last value it was set to before you took it off of the bolt or nut.
CDI is owned by the reputable Snap-On Tools.
Editor's Pick for Best Floor Jack
This jack has a hefty 3 ton (6,000 lbs) lifting capacity and is made with a mix of lightweight and sturdy materials. The body features lightweight aluminum, while the lift arm uses heavy-duty steel. The saddle is padded with rubber, and there’s a set of wheels and castors to help move this 59-pound tool.
Editor's Pick for Best Jack Stands: Torin Big Red Steel Jack Stands
This inexpensive pair of jack stands is very popular on Amazon for a reason. Torin is a well-known manufacturer in this field and all of its products are very high quality. The pair we have chosen here can support vehicles of up to 3 tons (6,000 lbs), which means that every vehicle, from compact cars, sedans and up to crossovers and SUVs will be covered. That said, some heavy-duty trucks weigh more – be sure to always check your owner’s manual for the weight of your vehicle.
The construction of the Torin Big Red Steel Jack Stands is rock solid. They’re made from high-grade forged steel and a welded frame design, so you can count on their durability. The saddles are also wider and deeper than in other jack stands, making them easier to place beneath the jacking points and safer as well. On top of that, they’re easily adjustable (ratcheting style) to a lot of different heights and are quick to use. In reality, there are not many negatives about these jack stands – for the price, they deserve to be in everyone’s garage.
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